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Our Gospel reading this Sunday is taken from the ninth chapter of Mark’s Gospel. That is a little over halfway through Mark’s Gospel. Earlier in this chapter the disciples had experienced Jesus’ Transfiguration. In the passage we read this weekend Jesus offers the second prediction of his passion. (We heard the first prediction of his passion in last Sunday’s Gospel.) “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” We are told the disciples “did not understand the saying and they were afraid to question him.”
Now you would think that Jesus’ prediction of his suffering and death would have a sobering effect on Jesus’ disciples. However, we are told that when they arrived at Capernaum Jesus asked his disciples what they had been talking about on the way “But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.” Their behavior caused Jesus to remind them that “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Clearly for Jesus service is the true measure of discipleship and not status, power, position or prestige.
Our first reading this Sunday, from the Book of Wisdom speaks of the just person who is beset by evil doers. “With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for according to his words, God will take care of him.” These words clearly connect with Jesus’ words in our Gospel today in regard to the fate that awaited him.
We continue to read from the Letter of Saint James in our second reading this Sunday. In this weekend’s selection James reminds us that “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist there is disorder and every foul practice.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Jesus’ words in our Gospel today seem to be at odds with the “Gospel of Prosperity” that is preached by some evangelists. How do you reconcile Jesus’ words with the Gospel of Prosperity?
- How does service in the name of Jesus find expression in your life?
- Have jealousy and selfish ambition ever found safe haven in your life?